FHSU Sports Information Department
Fort Hays State sends four wrestlers into the final weekend of competition this Friday and Saturday (March 10-11) at the 2017 NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Ala. Brandon Ball (141), Greg Tooley (157), Jon Inman (197) and Christian Lance (285) will represent the Tigers at the event.
Ball, the No. 11 ranked wrestler at 141 pounds, punched his way to the championship site by winning the West Super Regional Championship two weeks ago. The redshirt-freshman has had an outstanding season, posting a record of 35-5. Matching up with Ball in the first round of the championship is No. 5 ranked Joseph Alessandro from Seton Hill. Last season Allesandro was the national runner-up at 141 pounds, so he provides a tough test right out of the gate for Ball.
Tooley is another redshirt-freshman having an outstanding year for FHSU. Ranked No. 2 at 157 pounds, Tooley has dominated wrestlers all year long, picking up 12 of his 26 wins via technical fall. In the first round, he will be matched with Heath Lange, the No. 10 ranked wrestler in the nation from the University of Indianapolis. Lange, who is 22-3 on the year, also dominates opponents just like Tooley with 12 of his wins coming via pinfall.
Inman, the No. 3 ranked wrestler in the nation at 197 pounds, heads back to the NCAA Championships for the fourth consecutive year. Last season, Inman earned All-American honors for the first time in his career when he claimed a fifth-place finish at the championships at 184 pounds. Inman has only one other ranked wrestler (No. 9 Luke Cramer) on his half of the bracket, but at this stage, nothing is guaranteed and Inman looks to stay focused on making a run at nationals in his final season. Inman’s first match of the tournament will be against Jeff Reimel of Kutztown. Reimel, a 12-6 wrestler this season may not have the most attractive record, but the freshman has been hot as of late winning eight out of his last ten.
Lance, the third redshirt-freshman competing for FHSU, is currently the No. 8 ranked wrestler at 285 pounds in the nation. Lance had the hardest route to the championships, coming all the way back to win a true fourth-place match at the Super Regionals. He currently leads FHSU in wins with a 44-8 record and is trying to become the first heavyweight to earn All-America status for the Tigers since Trey Page in 2014-15. In the first round, Lance will be matched up with a two-time All-American and the No. 5 ranked wrestler in the nation, Donnell Walker of Maryville. Walker’s best finish at the championships was fourth in his freshman year and he also earned All-America honors last year with a sixth-place finish.